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Scrapbook: Louisiana Coal Conversion Halted

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Sierra Club Scrapbook

April 15, 2009

Louisiana Coal Conversion Halted

Jeff-Dubinsky-coal-rally-Ba
Photo by Jeffrey Dubinsky, DubinskyPhotography.com

The Sierra Club notched a major win in its fight to move beyond coal when the Louisiana Public Service Commission said on April 8 that it would allow Entergy Louisiana to cancel all contracts associated with the Little Gypsy Repowering project while the company puts the project on hold for at least three years. Entergy is seeking to convert its aging Little Gypsy power plant, 30 miles upriver from New Orleans, from natural gas to coal and petroleum coke.

The Sierra Club has been fighting the project for the last two years. Above, Laura Pavicevic-Johnson, Dan Favre, and other clean energy activists protest the Little Gypsy conversion in Baton Rouge in October 2007.

"We're thrilled that Entergy realized the numerous problems with the conversion project," says Louisiana Sierra Club organizer Jordan Macha, at left, below. Center and right, a Sierra Club mercury hair-testing event in New Orleans, after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that mercury emissions must meet strict standards under the Clean Air Act.

Jordan-Macha-hair-testing 

Entergy requested the 3-year delay on April 1, citing falling natural gas prices, the economic downturn, and federal energy policies such as a mandatory Renewable Portfolio Standard and probable carbon dioxide regulation. Entergy has stated that if it chooses to pursue the project in the future, it would have to start over with entirely new contracts.

Macha argued before the Public Service Commission that it was illegal for the project to remain on the books because power generation projects must be based on real timelines and economic data, and the assumptions behind Little Gypsy will be meaningless in 2012.

Many of the economic reasons Entergy cited for canelling its contracts are tied to environmental regulatory changes taking place nationwide. "We're seeing proposed coal plants stopped across the nation," says Macha. "Political leaders, industry, and citizens are all realizing that coal is no longer a viable option."

Macha is quick to credit longtime Delta Chapter volunteer Leslie March, below, with spearheading the Sierra Club's fight against the Little Gypsy conversion. At right, a poster for a No New Coal event co-sponsored by the Club's Kisatchie Group last spring.

Leslie-March-coal-poster 

Read March's recap of the Sierra Club's campaign against the Little Gypsy Repowering project, and learn more about the Club's work to move beyond coal.

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